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Jacqueline Freeman of Friendly Haven Rise Farm is my favorite beekeeper. Rather than raising thousands of colonies and focusing on honey production or crop pollination, she raises just a few and focuses on the happiness of the bees. I have visited beekeepers that show respect for the bees, but Jacqueline takes it much farther and shows reverence for the bees. In this video she shows us her bee shelter, or, as she calls it “a bee house”.
When hives are on the south side of a bee hut, or bee shelter like this, then they get shade in the summer, sun in the winter and all year protection from rain. They are up, off the damp ground. This makes the hive easier for the bees to care for, healthier bees and an increase in honey production. Sometimes honey production can be increased as much as five fold.
Jacqueline points out that the pacific northwest has the same weather as the United Kingdom: wet and drizzly.
These hives are mite free. What does Jacqueline use to keep the mites off? Nothing. No miticides. No insecticides. None of the so-called “organic” solutions (powdered sugar, essential oils). What she does do is provide three season nectar forage close by. If the bees don’t have to go far to get their nectar, then that is less stress. And they are getting nectar that is high qaulity and free of pesticides or herbicides. Plus, since she has just a few hives, the bees get all the nectar they need from nearby – jacqueline’s property wouldn’t be enough to feed a hundred hives, so the bees would have to venture farther and to lower quality nectar sources.
Since the hives are protected in the bee hut, then they don’t need paint!
The Friendly Haven Rise Farm website is at http://friendlyhaven.com/
I want to thank Barthélémy Glumineau http://studiomelies.com for editing this video and making it look so damn professional!
You can visit with Jacqueline and other excellent permaculture beekeepers at the Honey Bees forum at permies.com:
Relevant threads at permies:
music by Jimmy Pardo